A mail carrier has been arrested in South Florida and accused of helping drug dealers receive packages filled with marijuana that would then be sold to customers in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, according to federal court records.
Anthony Joseph Gallina, 30, was arrested on July 19 and is now awaiting trial after he admitted to delivering —in exchange for money — several parcels that contained marijuana that he knew would then be distributed and sold for profit, according to court records.
Investigators often find drugs stuffed in packages sent by mail or private delivery services. But it's not common that a postal employee is suspected of involvement in the illicit drug distribution business.
That's what happened when postal inspectors in early March last year detected that Gallina was delivering packages to vacant addresses along his route in West Palm Beach, according to a criminal complaint filed in court by a special agent of the U.S. Postal Service-Office of the Inspector General.
Never miss a local story.
Suspecting that Gallina was doing something illegal, perhaps delivering drug-stuffed packages for dealers, the Postal Service assigned investigators to monitor the employee along his route in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, according to the criminal complaint.
"Gallina might be assisting drug dealers by providing them with vacant addresses located on his postal route so that the dealers could mail drug parcels to those addresses, and could arrange for pick-up from Gallina," according to the criminal complaint.
Suspicions about Gallina intensified when a post office in Sebastopol, California, north of San Francisco, discovered that people in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach sent packages containing money to an address in Sebastopol, according to the criminal complaint.
"[A] postal inspector," the complaint said, "had successfully identified and seized several parcels from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach going to Sebastopol, CA containing proceeds from drugs," the criminal complaint says.
One of the suspect parcels going from Sebastopol to an address along Gallina's route in West Palm Beach was opened, and "a green leafy plant material" was found and determined to be marijuana, according to the criminal complaint.
Eventually, investigators followed one of the parcels Gallina was to deliver deliver, that had previously been determined to contain marijuana.
Investigators also separately linked to Gallina a package containing $7,000 concealed within the pages of a magazine, presumably profits from sales of the drug or an alleged payment.
"A forensic report revealed [that] Gallina's fingerprints were found inside the packaging material in which the money was wrapped," the criminal complaint said.
On April 30, the agents following Gallina observed him allegedly delivering one of the packages in which they had confirmed the presence of marijuana, according to the investigator who filed the criminal complaint.
"At 9:56 a.m., your affiant observed Gallina open the rear door of the Long Life Vehicle (LLV)," the complaint said. "Gallina wave[d] at someone up the street. Immediately after Gallina waved up the street, your affiant observed a dark blue Toyota Camry pull up behind the LLV. Gallina removed a parcel from the LLV and placed it inside [the] dark blue Toyota Camry."
The Toyota driver did not exit his vehicle and after Gallina placed the parcel in his vehicle, he immediately drove away, the complaint said.
Investigators followed the Toyota for five minutes, but lost in traffic.
Finally, investigators confronted Gallina on June 30 with the evidence they had gathered.
Gallina admitted his involvement in the scheme, according to the criminal complaint.
"He was approached by a male some time ago," the criminal complaint said. "The male asked Gallina to help him by providing addresses along Gallina's route to which he [the male] could send packages. The male offered to pay Gallina for the addresses. One week later provided the male with addressed."
Gallina ultimately delivered more than 15 packages, and met other individuals after work to pick up his payments, the criminal complaint said.
Gallina was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana.
The maximum penalty listed in an information filed by federal prosecutors is five years in the federal penitentiary, a $250,000 fine, and two years supervised release.
Neither the U.S. Postal Service nor the federal public defender representing Gallina responded to el Nuevo Herald email and phone messages seeking comment.